“Got kitesurfing on the mind, mixed with some search & classification tech, and a dab of political ranting”

My take on one Privacy Argument

Posted by direwolff on August 22, 2006

In the debate over individuals’ right to privacy, one of the recurring arguments by government entities and others who would hope to quash these rights, is the issue of the balance between privacy and security. This balance accordingly is generally made to side with security, because afterall “if you’ve done nothing wrong then you have should have nothing to worry about”, or so the defense of this argument goes. This argument works because most people no longer have an innate sense of what should be private. Well, that got me thinking…(oh boy)

Most people and governments agree that voting should be private (yes, I know, you’d hardly know it based on the reported research and evidence on electronic voting machine tampering and still local governments insist on deploying these). Why? Afterall, if we are to make the balance of privacy vs. security argument, this too would fail in favor of security. Imagine that a crime syndicate colludes with the people in a city or township to get them to vote for the syndicate’s preferred candidate, even if one could demonstrate that payoffs to voters were made, short of seeing their actual votes, how could the violators (the syndicate) be prosecuted for fixing the election? At least with any certainty. Does this mean that voters’ choices should not be private in the face of the needs of law enforcement in this matter?

Something to think about, though I’m likely outside of my area of expertise here, as there may already be case law that shows that people’s voting secrecy can be violated in certain instances. However, there are lots of cases that we can find out there to justify violating the Constitution to meet the goals of law enforcement (though one could question whether at that point it would still be law enforcement since the Constitution would need to be violated), but if you read the framers’ intent and learn about the times in which the document was written, you quickly realize that they foresaw the situations we have now and still landed on the side of the Constitution, it’s Amendments, and the Bill of Rights. The recent court opinion on the unlawful wire tapping by the NSA so ordered by the President goes into great detail about many of these issues and makes for a good read on the subject.

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